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Content Marketing Metrics: How to Measure Success & Failure

Discover the essential content marketing KPIs and metrics to track real business results. Learn how to measure, optimize your strategy, and brig growth.

Jeremy Chatelaine

Hamza Hanif

7 minute read

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What are the most important content marketing metrics?

  1. Traffic
  2. Engagement
  3. Conversions
  4. Leads
  5. MQLs
  6. SQLs
  7. Revenue
  8. Cost per acquisition (CPA)
  9. Customer lifetime value (CLV)
  10. Average order value (AOV)
  11. Average contract size (ACV)
  12. Return on investment (ROI)
  13. Brand awareness
  14. Retention
  15. Reach
  16. Visibility

Why failing to measure your content will make your content fail

Content marketing is an essential part of any modern marketing strategy. It's a powerful way to build brand awareness, generate leads, and drive conversions. But most companies fail to measure it properly and fail to understand its business impact.

To understand the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts you need to measure content metrics and KPIs that are tied to business results. More importantly for you - you need this to be able to report your contribution to your higher-ups.

Beyond understanding and reporting your performance - tracking these metrics and KPIs will let you improve and excel by enabling data-driven decisions. These guide you in optimizing your content and steering your content marketing strategy for maximum visibility and ROI.

Why content marketing metrics and KPIs matter (a lot)

KPIs guide decisions - tracking content marketing metrics allows businesses to know with high-certainty what works and what doesn't. Without metrics and KPIs, businesses risk investing time and resources into ineffective tactics that don't produce tangible results and waste resources and time.

Metrics help demonstrate business impact - with metrics like generated leads and average purchase value (APV) content marketers can calculate the ROI of their content. This makes it easier to secure budgets and resources for future campaigns.

Failing to track metrics and KPIs can result in missed opportunities - missing opportunities translate into losses, and though these losses are “off the books” they still affect your bottom line. As long as you’re blind to content performance you won’t be able to identify and capitalize on high-performing tactics.

KPIs can reveal insights into your buyer's journey - such as which types of content are most effective at each stage and where leads are dropping off. This allows you to create more effective content briefs for your writers.

Tracking content performance help identify content gaps - being able to feel the pulse of content demand in your niche can help you identify new trends and openings so you can develop new content ideas to fill those gaps.

KPIs let you evaluate content marketing against other marketing channels - knowing the performance of content marketing against other channels and campaigns will help your businesses allocate resources more effectively, and hopefully send more your way.

What are key Content Marketing metrics

There are several metrics that your business should track to evaluate the success of your content marketing efforts at different touch points with your audience.

Key content marketing metrics include:

(Organized it from the first touch down to purchase)

User Retention Rate = (Users at end of period - New users) / Users at start) * 100

  1. Click-through rate (CTR) - The percentage of people who click on a link to your content, usually from Google search results page (both Paid and Organic), or measured in email or social media campaigns.
    Formula: Click-through rate (CTR) = (Total clicks / Total impressions) * 100

  2. Email open rates - The percentage of people who open and read your email marketing campaigns.
    Formula: Email open rates = (Total emails opened / Total emails delivered) * 100

  3. Email positive reply rate - the percent of people who replied with interest to your email offer out of the total emails delivered.
    Formula: Email positive reply rate = (Positive replies / Total emails delivered) * 100

  4. Traffic - The number of visits to your website, social channels, landing pages, or YouTube channel.

  5. Engagement - The level of interaction with your content, such as shares, likes, comments, and time spent on the page, how many people read a social media post, and your average YouTube video view time.
    Formula: Engagement = (Total interactions (shares, likes, comments, etc.) / Total content views or impressions) * 100

  6. Conversions - The number of visitors who take a desired action, such as signing up, filling out a form, subscribing to a newsletter, or making a purchase.

  7. Leads - The number of visitors who provide contact information, indicating potential interest in your product or service.

  8. MQLs - Marketing Qualified Lead measure the warm and relevant leads that actually have some basic interest in your product or solution (only relevant for B2B and high ticket sellers)

  9. SQLs - Sales Qualified Leads are leads that met with your sales team and were verified as concrete potential buyers, interested and able to buy your product or service (only relevant for B2B and high ticket sellers)

  10. Revenue or Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) - The amount of revenue generated from content marketing efforts. Annual Recurring Revenue is the aggregate yearly recurring payment made by a cohort of customers. It is how subscription or retention-based businesses measure their income.

  11. Lead quality - The percentage of leads that became MQLs or SQLs (depending on how strict your measurement is).
    Formula: Lead quality = (MQLs or SQLs / Total leads) * 100

  12. Cost per acquisition (CPA) - The cost of acquiring a new customer. Can be calculated per marketing channel, campaign, or even a single landing page.
    Formula: Cost per acquisition (CPA) = Total marketing cost / Total number of acquisitions

  13. Customer lifetime value (CLV) - The amount of revenue a customer is likely to generate over their lifetime. This KPI is sometimes called LTV (lifetime value).
    Formula: Customer lifetime value (CLV) = Average monthly revenue per user * Customer lifespan (in month)

  14. Average order value (AOV) - the average purchase value of the average cart, subscription plan, or service bundle.
    Formula: Average order value (AOV) = Total revenue / Total number of orders

  15. Average contract size (ACV) - the average dollar revenue each lead brings in. If you manage to bring in B2B buyers with big price tags through your content marketing you’ll be the king of the hill.
    Formula: Average contract size (ACV) = Total contract revenue / Total number of contracts

  16. Return on investment (ROI) - The financial return on content marketing investment.
    Formula: Return on investment (ROI) = (Net profit from content marketing / Total content marketing investment) * 100

  17. Brand awareness - The extent to which your target audience is aware of your brand and its offerings. This is normally measured in the number of brand mentions on digital media, and aspects like logo design can help audiences remember your brand more easily.

  18. User Retention - The percent of users that regularly consume your various content marketing channels, normally returning website visitors, newsletter subscribers, social media followers, and YouTube subscribers. Retention rate is normally by cohort for a specific month.
    Formula: Retention Rate by Cohort = (Users retained in the period / Initial cohort size) * 100

  19. Reach - The number of social media followers, newsletter subscribers, returning website users, and affiliate referrals.

  20. Visibility - the number of people that get exposed to your content, but do not necessarily consume it. This can include an aggregation of organic impressions on Google and other search engines, search and placement ad impressions, social media impressions, and more.

  21. Inbound organic links - The number of external websites linking back to your content, which can improve search engine rankings and increase traffic.

  22. Content quality - The perceived value and relevance of your content to your target audience, which can impact engagement and conversions (based on standardized regular user surveys)

Each of these metrics provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy.

For example, tracking traffic can help you understand which channels are driving the most visitors to your site, while monitoring engagement can help you identify which types of content are resonating most with your audience.

Conversions, leads, MQLs, and SQLs are critical metrics for understanding how content is contributing to your sales machine.

Revenue and Average Contract Size expose your contribution to the bottom line and business growth.

What are key content marketing KPIs?

KPIs, or key performance indicators, are specific metrics that your business can use to track progress toward important business objectives. Any metric can be a KPI, but only a few should.

8 most important content marketing KPIs:

  1. Leads
  2. Lead quality
  3. Revenue
  4. Cost per acquisition (CPA)
  5. Customer lifetime value (CLV)
  6. Average order value (AOV)
  7. Average contract size (ACV)
  8. Return on investment (ROI)

Tracking these KPIs can help you understand how well your content marketing efforts are driving the desired outcomes.

For example, measuring lead quality can help you validate that your content is attracting the right traffic. That is, people who are likely to convert into customers.

CPA can help you understand the cost-effectiveness of your content marketing efforts and address inefficiencies or waste.

CLV, AOV, and ACV can help you flesh out user segments that are likely to spend more money with your business over time but also find out which types of content or campaigns bring in that priority customer segment.

ROI provides a comprehensive view of the financial impact of content marketing on your business growth.

How to measure Content Marketing metrics and KPIs

Measuring metrics and KPIs is critical for evaluating the success of content marketing efforts. There are various tools and techniques businesses can use.

Some common tools include Google Analytics, social media analytics, and email marketing platforms.

Google Analytics - provides valuable insights into website traffic

Social media analytics tools - provide information on engagement rates and follower growth.

Email marketing analytics tools - provide information on email performance like delivery rate, open rate, and click-through rates. Some even provide AB testing capabilities for trying different email subject lines and email copies head-to-head, or email finders for improved deliverability.

It is crucial to establish a regular schedule for reviewing data and adjusting content marketing strategies based on insights gained.

Content marketing KPIs should be included in your quarterly and yearly OKRs if your company applies this goal management system.

Qualitative vs quantitative measurement and analysis

There are also different measurement methods, including qualitative and quantitative analysis.

Quantitative analysis - involves measuring numerical data, such as website traffic or email open rates.

Qualitative analysis - involves interpreting non-numerical data, such as customer feedback or user behavior. Qualitative analysis requires more time and resources to analyze and interpret data accurately, but it provides valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences.

Using metrics and KPIs to optimize your Content Marketing strategy

One best practice for using metrics and KPIs is to identify trends and patterns in the data. For instance, if you notice that your blog posts receive higher engagement rates than your social media posts, you may want to focus on creating more blog content. Although there are ways to boost your social media engagement as well. Depending on what tools you use, you can use cutomizable Linkedin post templates or customizable Instagram story designs to post more often and more easily.

Another best practice is to identify areas for improvement. For instance, if you notice that your email open rates are low, you may want to reevaluate your subject lines or email content.

Real-world examples of companies that have successfully used metrics and KPIs to improve their content marketing efforts include HubSpot and Airbnb.

HubSpot used data to optimize its blog content and increase traffic to its website, while Airbnb used data to identify its target audience and tailor its content to meet their needs.

After collecting and analyzing data, businesses can use insights gained from measuring metrics and KPIs to optimize their content marketing strategies by following these best practices:

How to use content marketing analytics to get high-engagement

Nowadays, content marketing is a constant uphill battle. And with the rise of AI content generators, it’s harder than ever to rise above the noise. You can consider leveraging AI-powered solutions, and learn how to use ChatGPT, and inevitably, a plagiarism checker.

Many agencies and site owners are reporting a decline in traffic and worse yet in engagement.

But there’s still something you can do to stand out and improve engagement - improve your content delivery. And specifically adding interactive content to your content marketing portfolio.

With interactive content, you can grab your audience’s attention with movement, then guide them through the content all the while helping them focus their attention on what matters most.

You can grab some interactive presentation templates below.

Do this and you’ll get sky high engagement, but also make your content much easier to understand - which in turn makes it more memorable and much more likely to be shared with others.

Hamza Hanif

Hamza Hanif is an experienced SEO specialist, marketing executive, and content marketer with a passion for writing about technology and news. With over 3 years of experience in this field, Hamza is committed to delivering high-quality content that engages and informs his audience.

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